Gunboats on the Great Lakes 1866-68
The British Navy's show of force at the time of Confederation
Gunboats on the Great Lakes tells the story of the three British gunboats which patrolled the Great Lakes as the politicians finalized the Confederation deal, and Irish nationalists recruited Civil War veterans and staged armed raids on Canada. The Fenians, a secret society of Irish immigrants in the United States, decided to attack Canada with the aim of seizing power in the remaining colonies and using them as bargaining chips with Britain. Their ultimate goal was Irish independence. Historian Cheryl MacDonald explores the impact of the Fenian attacks on average citizens, and examines how gunboat diplomacy — in this case, the presence of three British vessels — helped reassure thousands of Canadians and guarantee Canada's territorial sovereignty between 1866 and 1868. Drawing on hundreds of newspaper articles, government reports, and the logbooks of the Britomart, Cherub and Heron, as well as archive photos from the period, this book focuses on events that will intrigue any history buff.